Homemade Plum Wine: Bottled

I’m sorry to say that I took on this plum wine with great enthusiasm and then lazily kept it going. Today I finally bottled it into 6 half gallon wide mouth mason jars. I have 3 gallons of plum wine that I’m going to have to find ways to use because it’s sour. I was hoping for more of a sweet wine. It is drinkable. I had a little today. It doesn’t smell like vinegar. We did a smell comparison with the red wine vinegar. It smells of wine. I just don’t see me indulging in it very often. When I undertake wine making again, I’ll be sure to make some changes. 

I’ll probably rack it more. I only did this twice. Yeah I know! But I was pregnant with twins and not very concerned with the wine.

I might use a different yeast. I used Red Star Cotes de Blanc.

Maybe I’ll use more sugar or a local honey and make into more of a mead…

Anyways, our plum trees didn’t fruit much this year. They had a hard one last year with all the coddling moth and then the freezing rain. Plus my landlord pruned them a little late which I think didn’t help with the fruiting. Also, one of my trees is starting to get curl leaf. I guess that is pretty difficult to get rid of.







I am a Bibliophile

Today, I am beginning to go through my books. I probably have hundreds of books, not including children’s books. I really did not know where to start because every time I do, I start making excuses as to why I should keep the books.

I did a quick internet search and found an article with some helpful hints. It is on the website “becoming minimalist” .

Time to find a notebook so I can write down my sentiments, ISBNs, etc., and a box or two or three.  😉

If you are a book lover, collector, like me and have some tips on how to reduce your collection – please share!

Belly Art Day

Both Belly Casts - 1st one on Rt, 2nd one on Lft

Belly Casts – Plaster Gauze Strips Drying

2nd Belly Cast - 36wks Surrogate Twins

Creating Belly Casts – 36wks Surro-Twins

Yesterday at 37 weeks pregnant, it was pouring off and on and we didn’t get to the grower’s market to get my belly henna magic. I’m disappointed but I wasn’t sure how I’d walk around with my shirt rolled up and keep the henna from getting ruined while it tried to dry.

Today, I’m experimenting with the belly cast that I made for myself. I never made one before and I did not use a kit. I bought some plaster strips from a second-hand/reusable art store. Last weekend I made two casts. I only did one layer of gauze. They are so thin! I don’t have enough gauze to do another full layer inside both bellies or somewhere in town to buy more plaster gauze strips. I stuffed my ‘experiment’ belly with towels and washcloths and smeared joint compound all over it. It’s currently sitting on my kitchen table drying.

For the belly cast that will go to my IFs, I’ll use the remaining plaster gauze on the inside and then smear joint compound on. I’ll do the strips today and wait until  tomorrow for the joint compound. I want to see how much it cracks before using it on my gift belly cast.

Once my ‘experiment’ belly cast is dry, I’ll give it a sanding and keep adding layers of joint compound until it’s smooth and stiff (hopefully). I have a big 12lb bucket of the stuff so I can go crazy with it! haha. I also have plaster of paris in my art cabinet but I heard it chips easily off the belly cast.

I think I’ll leave the dads’ belly cast plain. I’ll let them decorate/display it as they would like or they can hide it away if it so pleases them.

I haven’t decided what I’d like to do with mine yet. Maybe I’ll do a decoupage of belly/birth pics and ultrasounds.

I would love to get a picture of the twins inside one of the bellies but I’m not sure that they will be done in time.

I have a feeling that these little ones will make an entrance around the full moon this month and that is on Wednesday, May 14th.



Where have I been? Where am I at?

I’m now at the end of a gestational surrogacy (GS) journey. We are at 37 weeks and I am carrying twins for some amazing intended fathers (IFs). I was contemplating whether I would share this journey on this blog or create a different blog to share the journey. I followed through with neither idea.

So here I am. Really pregnant for another family. The journey has had ups and downs. If delivery and recovery goes well, I may do this again.

Today, I go to a local Grower’s Market to give my belly some magic with a henna tattoo. I have belly pictures of almost every week. I’ll post them sometime in the near future.

Gardening, wine-making, and most of my interests have been slowed down or put off until I have more energy. My poor plum wine has been racked maybe twice. We’ll see how it turns out, it still smells like a sweet wine so that is probably a good sign that it’s not vinegar.

Talk to you all soon!

Vegan Dinspirations

Yes, I have been missing in action.

We currently have a vegan guest so I’m trying out recipes. Some are okay and others have been great.

Tonight, I’m making “naked” jalapeno poppers. They aren’t breaded or wrapped in fakin. I didn’t research the egg-replacer needed for breading and veggie bacon has egg in it. I just sliced the jalapenos in half, seeded them, and filled them with some vegan cream cheese. I’ll bake ’em at 400F until the cheese starts getting browned. They are just about ready to come out and get snacked on. (update: yummy!)

I made some vegan artichoke & spinach dip yesterday and now I’m going to use the leftovers to make a quinoa bake. I was inspired by this recipe by Vegan Angela. I read in one of the comments that cashews were used instead of the egg-substitute so I think we’re good to go. If it doesn’t stick together, I don’t think anyone here will mind.

And…That’s what’s for dinner.

First Rack of Plum Wine

I finally moved the plum wine from the primary bucket to the glass carboy the other day.

It was a little messy. I suggest not doing this task near a carpet and wearing an apron or old clothes and shoes.

I sterilized my tools and the carboy with a mixture of bleach water. I had some bleach and I didn’t want to go buy another item. I’ve already invested more into this than I want. I’m a frugal person.

I then had to scoop the wine out of the primary bucket, strain it, and let it drip through the funnel into the carboy. The top portion of the bucket went quickly but when I got to wear the plums had settled it was way more time consuming.
I started straining it back into the primary buck so I strain bigger batches. Once I got the majority of the plums out, I went back to straining it over the carboy.

I have a lot less wine than I thought I would. I was talked into buying a 6 gallon carboy and it’s only a little more than halfway full. Plus, there is a lot of sediment at the bottom already. I think I’m going to rack it monthly.

Next month, I’ll need to buy a 5 gallon carboy and a racking tube. Next year, this will be more cost effective. At least that’s what I keep telling myself!

Filberts or Hazelnuts? And Other Fruit Tree Nonsense

I have harvested, with the help of my children, a small box of filberts. I think in Oregon they call them filberts and elsewhere they are called hazelnuts. I don’t really know, but I guess they are different species. I really don’t know what I have growing.


The youngest and our dog both love cracking them open to snack on. And guess what else loves to snack on filberts? The voracious coddling moth. Geeze do we have a problem over here. We avoid eating the larvae by cracking open the nut to peak inside after we’ve cracked open a shell with our handy dandy hammer. Our dog uses her teeth. If it’s yucky it goes in the garbage. We don’t want to put pests into our compost. But I don’t think our dog minds the larvae.

I know I probably shouldn’t let her eat things like plums and nuts but she does and she’s still here. Plus when I tell her not to she just ignores me or looks at me crazy. She wants to eat what we’re eating. And by the look of things it hasn’t stopped her up yet (but sometimes I wish she’d get stopped up or eat her own poop, lol).

Most of my fruit trees are wearing cardboard at the base of their trunks. I’m going to check them tomorrow for any moth cocoons. It started raining (sprinkling by Oregon standards) today so I am not sure how the cardboard is going to hold up.

I watched a video on how to harvest filberts and one person keeps their nuts in their car. It gets hot but it stays dry so I’m going to give it a try.

My oldest child wants us to make a chocolate/hazelnut spread so that’s what we’ll probably do with our small harvest.

How do you harvest and dry your nuts? What kinds of things do you make with them?